Right around the bend in our road, growing on a corner of the community center where I teach my children's English classes, is a tree that I love. I thought of it as my Pink-and-White Tree, and it reminded me of the Mallows that grew in places around Lake Tippecanoe where we used to spend summers when I was growing up. I knew it wasn't a Marsh Mallow, but the flower seemed somehow similar, and therefore comforting. (Marsh Mallows, as you might guess from the name, are interesting in their own right, but I haven't space to do them justice here.)
Being usually in a hurry before my classes, I was content just to feel happy upon seeing it without knowing its name (few people can tell me the names of plants or birds when I ask--a sad commentary on modern preoccupations). This year when it bloomed, though, I generally had a camera with me (either the video camera, or my phone). So I took a picture of it one morning, knowing my mom would like it, too.
Lovely white flowers and buds that put me in mind of the Mallows at the lake. If we were here walking together, I know I would show my mom this tree, hoping she would confirm my notion of its Mallow-ness (or maybe even know what it was, since she usually does--my mother is a formidable Trivial Pursuit opponent:))
So the next day I double checked--and sure enough, the same flower that had been white that morning had turned rose pink by evening. Well! I was enchanted, let me tell you. And, still not knowing the real name of my lovely tree, I christened it Quick-Change Tree to myself.
|click to see those lovely flowers properly, won't you:))|
Last weekend, still afflicted with symptoms of the cough I'd had for a week and a half courtesy of my daughter, I suffered myself to be taken along with everyone to the kid's favorite park in Tsujido. Little did I know what joy awaited. We had a nice enough day--the weather was mostly sunny and it was warm enough to enjoy being outdoors. My daughter was ecstatic to be allowed for the first time to ride the go-carts with her brothers (first to sixth graders only--she just started first grade).
|awww--look at that happy face:))|
Watching her pedal her way around the traffic park, I was glad I decided to go that day.
Further joy was to be mine that day. As we were leaving the park, I noticed my Quick Change Tree near the exit...and a sign bearing the name!
"Pure white flowers that bloom in the morning and turn pink by evening..."
The bottom said something that I couldn't quite read, so I asked my husband. He read it, looked confused, then said "Oh!"
At this point, an explanation of the Japanese name is in order. I suppose the best way to translate it (based on my husband's explanation to me) would be "Drunkard's Cheeks", a reference to the way many people's cheeks turn pink when they've been drinking. White-to-Pink...get it? As soon as he explained that to me, I smiled and laughed and pinched his cheek, because his cheeks turn pink after he's had half a beer. A fact I discovered on our third date, when I ordered a glass of wine...and he did, too, even though he doesn't like wine particularly (that it was our third date would be the reason for his odd drink choice). He hadn't had three sips of wine before his cheeks began to glow an adorable pink. *So* cute--I was completely smitten.
When I got home, I fired up Japanese Wiki and put "Sui Fu You" into the search box....
... Hibiscus mutabilis ... the Cotton Rosemallow. *Deep sigh of contentment* Such are the satisfactions of the simple life.
I realize that many of the things I notice and post pictures of are in fact common plants and birds and trees that you might see anywhere. So last weekend when we went to the traffic park at Tsujido, I decided I had better use the opportunity to take some pictures at the ocean and of some other things to prove that I do, in fact, live in Japan:))
Hello from across the Big Pond!
|Me, here. You--waaaay over there...|
Tokaido Line train--but I suppose that wouldn't really be convincing, since there are train stations all over Europe, too...
...then I thought, Aha! European train stations...
...there. See? You know it's Japan if there are ladies in kimono walking casually around the platform...
The sunset was beautiful, and, unusually for Japan, we could see most of it. Not so many tall buildings out at the coast to obscure the view. But I put that picture there only because I like to share beautiful things I see with people, not because it shouts "Japan!".
But as we were waiting for the bus, I turned around to get a last glimpse of the fading rose of the sunset, and...
Mata asobou, ne!